Securing Your Premises Florida HOAs and Crime Prevention

 Despite what film noir and gritty nocturnal crime dramas would have us believe,  sunny venues and beach vistas are as fertile grounds for criminal activity as  dark alleys and deserted piers—especially those typically referred to as “white collar” crimes, like embezzlement and kickbacks. The tendency in Florida for condominium and clustered communities to be governed  by property management firms, HOAs, and Community Development Districts (CDDs)—often with multiple and overlapping layers of administration—can set the stage for criminal activities.  

 Depending on the size of the property, tracking who does what, when, and where  could keep a firm of certified public accountants up at night. Of course there  are Florida statutes in place governing how associations should be run, but  even so, there are ample opportunities for honest confusion and not so honest  manipulation.  

 The Florida Sunshine Law, section 286.011 of the Florida Statutes, provides  guidelines on how to keep information flowing correctly, honestly and openly  (hence the 'Sunshine' of the law's title.) For example, all meetings must be  posted in advance, open to the public and minutes must be taken and available  for public inspection. CDDs must adhere strictly to this statute but, HOAs and  COAs can often take a more flexible interpretation.  

 Violation of The Sunshine Law is a second degree misdemeanor which carries  fines, attorney’s fees, removal from office and possible jail time.  

 It goes without saying that working closely with an experienced and reputable  property management firm is a board's first line of defense in preventing  criminal activity. Such a firm will have excellent recommendations and  experience on how to identify and prevent any unsavory activity.  

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